Though Meera Anil is a qualified civil engineer, she is scaling new heights as a television anchor riding on her unique presentation skills. If you ask Meera about her hobby, there can only be one affirmative answer – travelling. “When I get bored, the energy and joy I get from travelling is something extraordinary,” she says. Meera is blessed as her husband Vishnu is also a travel junkie. The popular Malayalam TV host is too happy to share the good news that a ‘superbike’ would be part and parcel of their travel escapades from now.
Meera and Vishnu tied the knot during the COVID-19-triggered triple lockdown and the pandemic had poured cold water on the couple’s plan to embark on a pan-India tour. As both were travel enthusiasts and as their engagement function was held during the pre-Covid days, they drew up exhaustive travel plans for the future. With triple lockdown and travel restrictions in place, both were forced to spend their honeymoon and post-marriage days at home.
But the year 2022 is providing a lot of hope to the young couple. Presently, Meera and her husband are planning to go on a trip to North-east India, which was earlier shelved. “We want to tour the entire North-east region and are looking forward to that journey. The greatest happiness is the vigour you derive from travelling. We have a hectic work schedule and after three to four days of shoot, it is better to hit the road with Vishnu on the bike. After the tour, we are transported to a new world or life. Even small trips are dear to me,” notes Meera.
Love to tread uncharted paths
The couple loves to travel to places that have a touch of tranquillity. They are also into knowing the serenity of forests and travelling to places that are not frequented much by travellers. “I love to wander through little-known places and as a matter of fact both have similar thoughts regarding this,” she adds.
Vishnu is passionate about driving to various tourist spots and Meera likes to be his co-traveller and sink in the beauty of nature while her hubby is driving. Now the duo goes on a journey in their brand new SUV ‘Tata Harrier’. “It was our long-cherished dream to own a SUV and happy to pocket an Indian-origin SUV. After wedding, a person would learn a lot of new things and after marrying Vishnu, who is crazy about automobiles, I am also in awe of various car and bike brands,” the sough-after anchor notes.
Not into adventure
Though Meera is a person consumed by wanderlust, anything coated with adventure is a big no for her. But Vishnu, who had rode his bike on the most dangerous stretches in the world, loves to indulge in adventure activities. He had travelled on his bike from Kanyakumari to Leh in Ladakh and also tasted the thrill of paragliding and sky diving, among others. But Meera wants to play it safe though the couple had trekked together. “I can’t jump from a deadly height or plunge into sea. Vishnu is adventurous, there is no doubt about it,” she adds.
Life’s greatest blessing
Every traveller would have a place that would give goosebumps. Meera’s two most-favourite destinations are her home in Thiruvananthapuram and Vishnu’s home at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district. No matter how busy she is, Meera hopes to step into these two places whenever time permits.
“My family consists of my parents and me. I don’t have any siblings and I cherish the tours with my father and mother. But Vishnu’s family is big. Apart from his parents, he has his elder brother, sister-in-law and their child. That was a new experience for me and whenever we travel together I get a feeling that I am part of a joint family. This one of the greatest blessing of my life,” says Meera.
Short trips but long vibe
Meera, who is also an actress, cherishes her trips along with her husband to Vagamon. The couple can reach the popular hill station in two hours’ time from Mallappally, Vishnu’s hometown. “Vagamon is always our short-trip destination. A short trip and long vibe, that’s Vagamon for us,” she says.
Whenever the duo goes to Vagamon, they love to eat ice-cream by sitting on a barren hill enveloped in mist and would return home only when night falls.
Each travel is packed with its own unique experiences. The feel one could get while treading through the forests would be different from visiting a cosmopolitan city like Dubai in the UAE. The vistas of Jaipur in Rajasthan would be poles apart from that of Arunachal Pradesh and Punjab. So, for Meera each journey is an experience in itself. “If I am asked to pick a tour that stands out, definitely it will be the first trip with Vishnu. Our first journey together to Kovalam on my birthday is very dear to my heart,” she adds.
Lalettan and chocolate gift
Though Meera Anil had travelled to various foreign countries, including the US, the journeys she had undertaken as part of stage shows along with Malayalam actor Mohanlal are unforgettable. She has visited Dubai 50 to 60 times to be part of various cultural programmes.
“The foreign trips along with Lal sir are great fun. His dedication to work and approach towards colleagues are something unique. After the stage show, he makes it a point to take all us out and buy gifts. Sometimes it could be a chocolate or a small gift. My trips with Lalettan are so memorable that I have preserved the wrappers of the chocolates he gave me,” notes Meera.
Though Meera was fortunate enough to visit many countries, she is yet to go abroad with her soul mate. “I haven’t touched my passport for the past two years,” she quips.
Bemusement at airport
Meera recollects an interesting incident that happened during her first foreign trip ever to Qatar. Her flight to Qater had a stopover in Abu Dhabi and she was perplexed by the busy Abu Dhabi airport in the UAE.
“It is a busy airport with scores of shops and numerous passages and I was quite astonished seeing all this. It was a family hailing from Idukki that helped me to get out of the predicament. The family members came near me after they recognized me. I was confused as to whether I should collect luggage and where to go to board the flight to Qatar. The family members helped me out and made my travel smooth. Keralites are always cool,” she adds.
Packed travel list
Meera’s travel list is so exhaustive that it won’t fit into any ‘bucket’. “We are planning to travel to innumerable places and a ‘bucket’ is not enough to hold the long travel list,” quips Meera.
The wish to scale Mount Everest tops the list. “Though we have an earnest desire to scale Mount Everest, we know that it won’t be possible to realize that dream. So, at least we want to reach the base camp,” the bubbly anchor explains.
The second on the list is to savour the Northern Lights of Arctic. “It was a dream from my school days to view this spectacle on the sky. One has to reach Arctic between September and March to see this nature’s magic. Though there would be many bottlenecks to reach Arctic, we want to relish the visual treat badly,” she adds.
The third wish is to step on the Bluejohn Canyon which witnessed the canyoneering accident of Aron Ralston and the movie Hollywood film ‘127 Hours’ based on the incident. This movie was discussed widely when R Babu, a trekker, got stuck in a crevice of the treacherous Kurumbachi Hills in Palakkad district. The English flick was made based on a true story and was shot at Bluejohn Canyon, which is a slot canyon in eastern Wayne County at Utah in the US.
“I have been to the US, but couldn’t visit Bluejohn Canyon. The next trip to the US would definitely have Bluejohn Canyon on the itinerary,” she says.
A destination, besides their respective homes, that the couple wants to visit time and again is Leh. “As each trip to Leh provides a different experience, we want to visit there too,” Meera adds.
Meera flew to Thailand along with singer Rimi Tomy on a vacation. Both went to a restaurant in a seafood market area and ordered a popular dish, after consulting with the waiter, on the menu. “The waiter served a dish that looked like fish fry. It looked like ‘varaal’ (snakehead murrel) fry that we get in Kerala. One fleshy piece of the dish was kept on the plate and just before having it we found an unusual smell emanating. That’s when people sitting at the neighbouring table told us that the dish was made of snake meat. It was jolt for us and we kept the dish away,” recollects the television host.
While travelling, the couple keeps three things in mind. Firstly the couple would have a clear picture of the travel budget. Secondly, they would learn more about the place they are visiting and thirdly, the duo would dig deep into the destination’s cuisine.